By Tobias Schlereth, Solution Expert Utilities, Movilitas
Increasing competition and new business models on the market require utility companies to become more customer centric while working more efficiently to reduce costs in order to remain competitive. They are working to upgrade their legacy systems and take advantage of new technologies to generate power, service customers and digitize processes. Utilities realize how inefficient it is to conduct operations manually, on paper and with siloed data. Information needs to be accessible and real-time in order to meet their distributed energy resources and consumer-focused culture. The new connectivity and mobility will help them overcome these operational challenges and fuel cost reductions while improving workforce safety and the customer experience.
Common Utility Challenges
The utility industry has been focused on creating new access to their power systems while managing the increases in usage demand. While the market for new customers continues to grow, it is at a slower rate. Additionally, regulations continue to change from the push for clean energy to requiring smart meter rollouts. Meeting these market demands and laws require a higher workload on top of the day-to-day operations.
Government and industry regulations are not the only challenge. Manual and paper-based processes plus siloed systems generate inefficiencies. The challenges can lead to:
- difficulties in scheduling from maintenance to meter reading
- longer work cycles
- increased overtime
- higher maintenance spend
- decreased asset life and reliability
Integrated Connectivity Offers a Solution
Progressive power companies seek to implement Industry 4.0 technologies for improving operations. Digitizing assets and processes unlock the connected data necessary for real-time access and advanced analytics. It powers operational and strategic decisions from field service to the top floor.
Enterprise asset and workforce management are solutions that bring together data and information from multiple systems for end-to-end visibility with shared collaboration. Utilities can coordinate workforces more efficiently to manage high workload with existing resources while organizing customer appointments and meeting regulatory requirements. An empowered workforce increases productivity because they have access to all necessary information at any place and any time whether online, offline or occasionally connected. The new workforce intelligence helps enforce and accelerate end-to-end business processes through capturing and validating data at point of performance.
This new business model forged by workforce intelligence provides of a 360° view of your operations with a common taxonomy that reduces miscommunications and fosters collaboration. Similar utility companies have seen the following results (KPIs may be estimated):
- Work capacity increased by 10 to 20%
- Labor productivity increased by up to 50%
- Idle time and overtime reduced by 40 to 60%
- Preventable failures reduced by up to 90%
- Safety incidents reduced to near zero
These results effect the enterprise and operations at the strategic and tactical levels. Workforce inefficiencies are reduced while lowering overall costs because of their access to information and optimized scheduling. The return on assets increases by reducing outages and the costs associated with unplanned maintenance activities. Customer satisfaction improves as fewer appointments are missed or rescheduled and their power is more reliable. The combination of all three areas can provide a competitive edge even while utilities meet industry and regulatory requirements.
There are often multiple components or layers to an enterprise asset and workforce management solution. Each one connects data from different systems to create a core foundation for end-to-end management, such as:
- Scheduling solution with map-integration and route optimization
- Fully integrated mobile application with offline capabilities
- Follow-up processing in the backend system
Therefore, when you select a solution or set of solutions, it is best to conduct a fit/gap analysis to determine the best way to implement and customize for your operations. Work with an experienced partner as your utility moves towards operations beyond simple asset lifecycle management. If you’re ready to explore the possibilities, start a conversation with our experts today.